PHILIPPE MIQUEL

Morocco 2020/21 | ENERGY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Philippe Miquel, CEO of Engie Services Maroc, about leading the electricity production market, export expansion plans, and goals for 2021.

Engie in Morocco, has become a market leader in electricity production and energy services. How would you describe the evolution of the company over these years?

ENGIE's ambition in Morocco has been to contribute to the country's objective of a wide affordable and sustainable energy access. With more than 1,600 employees in the country, we are present in Morocco in power production with 1,700MW of installed capacity with the Tarfaya wind farm (301MW) and the Safi thermal plant (1,386MW), and in the field of energy services. HVAC and fluid engineering, electrical and electromechanical engineering, electrical and telecom infrastructures, multi-technical maintenance, and energy efficiency: We service more than 200 customers on a daily basis.

2020 has been a challenging year for all industries in Morocco. How has COVID-19 impacted your operations and what are the key strategies you have followed to mitigate this impact?

In 2020, in the context of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams remained constantly mobilized to ensure a continuity of service on our customers' premises. We implemented Business Continuity Plans very early on, which enabled us to protect our employees while standing by our client to help them resume their activities. These plans have been considered as an industry standard. In spite of this economic downturn, we continued to develop innovative solutions for a low carbon future. For instance, Nexans Morocco and ENGIE signed a 15-year contract for the design, construction, servicing and maintenance of a rooftop photovoltaic plant with an installed capacity of 2.5MW, covering nearly 22% of the plant's annual electricity needs and avoiding the emission of more than 700 tons of CO2 per year. We also installed this year the first photovoltaic solar power plant for irrigation pumping for the agricultural sector in Morocco.

In terms of exports, what are your expansion plans?

Let's take two examples of the expertise that we export outside of Morocco. The first one is with Groupement Orange Services (GOS), which is a subsidiary of ORANGE in Côte d'Ivoire, which manages Orange's network infrastructures. ENGIE Services Maroc supported the local subsidiary of ENGIE (ENGIE Services Côte d'Ivoire) in the award of the multi-technical maintenance contract for the latest-generation datacenter that GOS opened in Abidjan in 2017. ENGIE's experience in Morocco in the field of operating and maintaining datacenter, with INWI in the telecom sector, with BMCE Bank in the banking sector, and with DXC Technology, was key to the successful award of the contract to ENGIE. Another example is the construction of three ground-mounted photovoltaic power plants coupled with power generators to supply three villages in Gabon with our client AUSAR ENERGY, a joint venture by ENGIE Africa, ENGIE Ineo Scle and Centum Adetel. Our teams in Morocco managed the project from the design to the commissioning of the three photovoltaic power plants.

What are your key goals and priorities for the year ahead and for 2021?

For ENGIE, the crisis has taught us a lot about our ability to adapt and to develop new ways of working. We have also shown our agility in the transformation of our activities to adapt to the current and future needs of our customers. This led to creating new development opportunities for the company in the context of this economic crisis. In Morocco, like in many countries impacted by COVID-19, adapting the economy and the industrial capabilities to reduce the dependency on imports in key sectors (health, manufactured goods... etc.), appeared critical in reducing the impact of the crisis. More generally, this objective to rethink the supply sources, as close as possible to the needs could be very beneficial to Morocco because of its proximity to Europe but also the essential role it plays as an economic driver in Africa. Finally, concerning the energy sector, there is a good chance that the energy world of tomorrow will be much more oriented towards a more sustainable and a greener energy supply. A world where renewable energy will be the norm. An area where, here again, Morocco is leapfrogging competition… Here too, we are ready to support all economic actors in Morocco in their neutral-carbon strategy to a greener economy.